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December 1, 2011 5:18 AM   Subscribe

Contrary to initial reports, the evictions of Occupy L.A. encampments were marked by police violence and hundreds of arrests. Journalists who ignored the prohibition on live coverage were expressly targeted by the LAPD.
posted by clarknova (52 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm definitely finding the choice of black and white imagery invoking mass rallies of the sixties is an interesting touch. Among many things it makes me wonder if this an external improvisation completely superimposed to the narrative going on here, or if it's one the modern movement would embrace, (one which seems to have a lot of people who are decidedly not boomers involved).

As a style choice I definitely noticed that all the arab rioting/revolting seems to favour colour, while the American stuff is being washed out to a grey that removes aspects like ethnicity (at least to some degree) and gives it a timeless, heroic aura.
posted by Phalene at 5:34 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are we still at war with Oceania?
posted by kenaldo at 5:44 AM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Journalists who ignored the prohibition on live coverage were expressly targeted by the LAPD.

Here's a fun game. Try to identify how many laws/principles are broken in that sentence.
posted by DU at 5:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [44 favorites]


Journalists who ignored the prohibition on live coverage deserve some goddamn medals, I tell you what.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [62 favorites]


The DHS coordinated response, plus these media pools seems to indicate that the powers-that-be regard OWS as more than just a nuisance.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:52 AM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


At least once a week these days I get this weird punched-in-the-face feeling. It's getting really, really old.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:05 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Try to identify how many laws/principles are broken in that sentence.

Oh that's easy. All of them!....

Waaaaah, I don't like this decade, Mummy. *Sniff*
posted by Phalene at 6:07 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The DHS coordinated response, plus these media pools seems to indicate that the powers-that-be regard OWS as more than just a nuisance.

It's a great opportunity for training. Using a media pool in a war zone is one thing, using it in a place like Los Angeles takes a bit of practice. It's easier to identify and corral "journalists" as they come out from business class on the military airfield. When a "journalist" is indistinguishable from any other deadbeat on the street with a cell-phone, it's much harder for the authorities to regulate them. A few rough starts are to be expected before the technique is perfected. Just a bit of patience really. Once the government gets it right, we won't have to read about unpleasant things like this in the news anymore.
posted by three blind mice at 6:10 AM on December 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


The times they are a changin' back.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:11 AM on December 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


They shouldn't have evicted protesters until they made them clean up their trash evidently. I'm wondering how accurate "30 tons of debris" really is.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:25 AM on December 1, 2011


"I just need to go back to tidy up, Officer, and collect ARGH MY EYES BURNING BURNING NIRNUNNINN!!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:29 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


At least once a week these days I get this weird punched-in-the-face feeling. It's getting really, really old.

Are you sure you don't mean "stamped-in-the-face"? Get used to it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:31 AM on December 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Puppycat: "trash" = personal items the protesters ostensibly didn't have an opportunity to retrieve.

"books and CDs, luggage and boom boxes, mattresses and dining chairs, cellphones, electric razors, a small red guitar with its neck snapped –- all surrounded by dozens of collapsed and empty tents."

Think 'they evicted me from my house and then took all of my possessions and threw them onto the street and called it trash'.

It used to be common practice (and probably still is in many places) to throw away all the belongings of homeless people when they were arrested for whatever reason. Looks like a similar happened here.

'30 tons' may be accurate, 'trash' probably isn't as much.
posted by el io at 6:31 AM on December 1, 2011 [31 favorites]


I was thinking that was the case and it's stupidity that they wouldn't let protesters gather their belongings then or now. It really pisses me off. What pisses me off more are the conservative" members of my family (namely my lazy, unemployed-by-choice 30 some-odd year old cousin who's been sponging off his mother since high school) trying to post crap like that to point out how terrible the protesters are. I would pretty much like to punch him in the face.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:34 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering how accurate "30 tons of debris" really is.

at least they aren't lice-ridden VD carriers like those kids they had to kill at Kent State...

/hamburger
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:37 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


They shouldn't have evicted protesters until they made them clean up their trash evidently. I'm wondering how accurate "30 tons of debris" really is.

It's hard to force someone to clean up their "trash". Which is another way of saying their belongings. Had, for whatever reason, Occupiers voluntarily decided to disband before the raid, most the the 'trash" would have been taken back to where it came from (homes/storage/etc). OccupyLA wasn't voluntarily disbanded, so the stuff left behind is subsequently just their "trash" rather than belongings.

I'm guessing the "30 tons of debris" is measured by volume (garbage truck load) rather than weight.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:40 AM on December 1, 2011


at least they aren't lice-ridden VD carriers like those kids they had to kill at Kent State...

Oh sure they are.
posted by clarknova at 6:43 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you read the updates in the Atlantic piece, which also explains how a pool works, the new emargo was more like tape-delay than any black-out.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:46 AM on December 1, 2011


Embargo.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:47 AM on December 1, 2011


After last night's winds, most of that debris is probably in the Pacific.
posted by malocchio at 6:53 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The DHS coordinated response

Is there a verified cite that DHS has been involved? I've seen one article where it was mentioned, but no real evidence to back it up.
posted by inigo2 at 6:56 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


...the new embargo was more like tape-delay than any black-out.

Have a look at the google book liked in that Atlantic peice. The "tape delay" has another effect besides quelling spontaneous growth of the current protest. It also has a homogenizing effect on the reporting itself. Publications will tend to all report an identical narrative which is easy for vested interests to control.

I leave it to you to decide which is better: journalism that manipulates the public in ways favorable to power, or no journalism at all.
posted by clarknova at 7:03 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm wondering how accurate "30 tons of debris" really is.

Considering it's the LAPD, I would imagine they counted the physical weight of the protesters in that estimate.
posted by ryoshu at 7:13 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Publications will tend to all report an identical narrative which is easy for vested interests to control."

This is true to an extent. I tend to put less weight on the actual control-conspiracy motif, and more on incompetence-laziness (or less pejoratively, overworked-stressed for time).

It's pretty easy to see how media will take an idea and repeat not just the story, but the perspective of the narrative. I am not talking about how network news will distribute stories to be regurgitated verbatim by local affiliates, though that practice deserves some observation and mockery.

I was a little surprised yesterday when I heard the reports of how peaceful the removal of the OWS-LA went. The police spokesman compared it to other cities saying how they had "none of the problems" that other cities did. It's not a story I have been following closely. But it makes sense now.
posted by Xoebe at 7:22 AM on December 1, 2011


Using a media pool in a war zone is one thing, using it in a place like Los Angeles takes a bit of practice.

Well, this new Defense Bill will declare America a "Battlefield", so they need to get in practice for it. (Incredibly, with opposition by Rand Paul, the ACLU, AND California's annoyingly moderate Senator Feinstein, it still passed with 61 votes. Yeah, we doomed.)
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:23 AM on December 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


The FPP is a whole 'lotta nothin. A few unsubstantiated allegations of violence from activists who were arrested. The "journalists" who are complaining here are really OWS activists themselves, whose outlets write wonderful journalistic prose like this:
Speaking of a collaborationist bootlicking media there’s been an avalanche of PR-managed horseshit about the LAPD attack on the Occupy LA camp making it seem as though “this time it was different” and the police behaved themselves as tenderly as a bunch of Girl Scouts.
Yawn.

Another reporter on the scene said this (from the Atlantic link):
"We were inside the park, but there were multiple reporters from each publication outside the park, doing more reporting," she wrote. "Our editors on the outside were reading the POOL and then also taking stories from outside the park, and crafting them for the web, so there were many eyes. So stories that we were writing from inside the park went live on the newspaper sites, and other news sites within minutes."
posted by BobbyVan at 7:28 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unsubstantiated, BobbyVan? Did you not watch the video of Tyson Heder being arrested at the end of one of the articles? Seems pretty substantiated.
posted by verbyournouns at 7:56 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wrote a lengthy, logically supported screed about dismissing OWS sympathizers as not not-real "journalists". I deleted it. Snark and mockery will work better. I am not feeling up to it at the moment though.
posted by Xoebe at 8:00 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


BobbyVan, if the police were arresting Fox News reporters at a Tea Party-sponsored protest, it would amount to the same thing you're describing. And it would still be an outrage.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:05 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did you not watch the video of Tyson Heder being arrested at the end of one of the articles?

The video's made by a supporter, it doesn't count.
posted by inigo2 at 8:05 AM on December 1, 2011


Are we going to grar with an FPP every time an angry activist photographer gets shoved during a confrontation with police? I notice that the video begins right at the moment that Heder is shoved, so it's not clear what he did in the moments leading up to the "shove," nor is it clear whether he disobeyed any direct police orders. I've watched the video a few times, and it's pretty thin.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:12 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering how accurate "30 tons of debris" really is.

There is no particular reason to doubt this figure. Garbage trucks are weighed as they enter and leave the landfill because the landfill charges by the pound (or, on the paperwork, ton). This is probably based on what the city had to pay to discard what they collected.
posted by localroger at 8:20 AM on December 1, 2011


Seems pretty substantiated.

I can't tell how many people in these OWS threads are shills and how many really believe

a) police abuses at demonstrations are no big deal
b) demonstrations are no big deal
c) "love it or leave it, hippies!"

Nor do I care. I assume if they're getting paid they're jerks and if not they're rubes. Either way their positions are more pitiable than answerable.
posted by clarknova at 8:38 AM on December 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait a second.

From the first link: "Tyson Heder, 35, was taking pictures of the eviction, when a police officer shoved him away. The video showed Heder then standing up, yelling at the officer, then being forced to the ground by several policemen..."I do think it was horrible and excessive," [Heder's sister] Collins said after watching a video of the encounter. "But I have to say, I was relieved it wasn't worse once I saw it."

Pam Noles, an observer with the National Lawyers Guild, which has advised the protesters, gave high marks to police and protesters during the eviction. "I would have to say honestly that the LAPD had their A game on," Noles said, adding that protesters should also be given credit for remaining nonviolent and not giving police any excuse to use force.

Journalists didn't have to agree to participate in the pool, and clearly many of them didn't. That isn't censorship of journalists -- it's the LAPD trying to control a story, which is what every single person or organization which interacts with a journalist is trying to do as well.

All of the links regarding journalists who were arrested don't give any sense that they were "expressly targeted" by LAPD, unless by expressly targeted you mean they were arrested along with a whole bunch of other people. But did LAPD just arrest people with cameras? Did they just arrest people with a press sign on their hat?

I'm also scratching my head at "marked by police violence." Heder's arrest video doesn't show what he did before he was shoved. It does show the takedown, which was entirely standard stuff and wasn't marked by any extraneous violence. A cop approached him from behind, he tried to evade, and other cops swarmed and he was put down on the ground. It wasn't gentle, but it wasn't undue force.

And yet, if this entire thread is supposed to be about how the LAPD censored reporters (although I do not think you guys actually understand what censorship is if you think this is that), then how is it that KCAL9 broadcast the takedown of Heder live?
posted by incessant at 8:46 AM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


So...let's see. There's actually nothing here that wasn't contained in the "initial reports" (which all mentioned the fact of the arrests and that some of the protestors chose to resist arrest--which is all the allegation of "police violence" in this FPP amounts to). The "prohibition on live coverage" turns out to be nonexistent according to the very piece linked in the FPP. And there's no evidence of journalists being "expressly targeted" by the LAPD.

Other than that, this is truly shocking news that shakes the very foundation of our democracy.
posted by yoink at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is unfortunate that our society has come to the place where a lawful command from an officer goes ignored. Oftentimes, as was the case at the Occupy L.A. camp, this sets in motion a regrettable series of events. As the League has maintained, when a dangerous individual refuses police orders to end the threat they are posing to the safety of officers and the public, they subject themselves to the consequences of their actions.

The rhetoric coming out of the police here is incredible.

Particularly the bit where they classify civil disobedience as “dangerous”.

Dangerous to the entrenched interests and power groups, I guess.
posted by spitefulcrow at 9:55 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Incredibly, with opposition by Rand Paul, the ACLU, AND California's annoyingly moderate Senator Feinstein, it still passed with 61 votes

NDAA has not been passed by the Senate. The HuffPo article headline is poorly worded, but the vote was actually for an amendment on the bill that would remove military detention language from the bill. The 61 votes defeated that amendment; it did not pass the bill.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:25 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Particularly the bit where they classify civil disobedience as “dangerous”.

This, right here, sums up so much of what just boggles my mind about the rhetoric surrounding the OWS protests.

Civil disobedience is meant to be dangerous. The whole point of civil disobedience is that you disobey a law in order to either protest that law directly or in order to draw attention to a protest of a wider scope. The fact that you are disobeying the law is the very point of the protest. That you are participating in civil disobedience does not mean that the police are not supposed to enforce the law. In fact, if the police were to say "oh, that's just civil disobedience, that is--I guess we'll just let them carry on and go home" there would be no fucking point in engaging in the civil disobedience in the first place. It would mean either that the law you were breaking was one nobody actually cared about enforcing or that breaking it was insufficiently newsworthy to bring attention to your cause.

The only point of the "Occupy" encampments was to present a dilemma to law enforcement. The only reason those encampments drew the amount of press that they did was because they immediately prompted the "so how long will it be before the police come in to move them along?" question. They were a deliberate provocation designed to bring attention to a cause--and that's great. That's civil disobedience doing its thing.

But it's just utterly moronic to engage in a provocation and then cry foul when you actually provoke a response. It's perfectly fair to cry foul if the response is overly heavy-handed (Tony Boloney, UC Davis, Oakland etc.), but if it's a response so markedly restrained that the police are widely praised by the very protestors they are arresting (as is the case in LA) it simply makes you look like spoiled children. Every single person in that park knew that the police were going to arrest everyone who didn't leave the park peacefully under their own volition. Every single person knew that they had the option of either going (and not getting arrested), staying and voluntarily offering themselves up to a peaceful arrest, or actively resisting arrest in order to force the officers to use force in response. Again, any one of these is a reasonable option, and it's perfectly o.k. (within reasonable limits) to deliberately resist arrest in order to (again) up the visibility of your protest and demonstrate your commitment to the ideals you're espousing. But it makes no sense whatsoever to choose to constrain the police to use (reasonable) force to arrest you and then to cry foul when they do.

The Occupy LA encampment chose to camp on City Hall's lawn not because anything in their protests is particularly relevant to city government (it's not, by and large) or because that's an amazingly visible spot which vast numbers of people would be forced to see (a single banner of a freeway overpass would reach orders of magnitude more people in a day than saw LA's encampment live). They chose to camp there because they know they're not allowed to camp there and because they knew that this would create a stand-off with city government that would draw media attention. Had the city been able to declare the park a legal campground and provide toilets, showers and adequate safety provisions (which, of course, they could not) then the Occupy encampment would have fizzled out in a few days: it would have no longer been a media spectacle and the occupiers might just as well have gone and stayed at any city campsite. Staying there would no longer have been "civil disobedience"; that the campsite existed as a permanent provocation was its entire raison d'etre. The LA occupy protestors should be--and many of them, in fact, are--thanking the police for playing their necessary part in this piece of political theater with a maximum of professionalism and a minimum of violence.
posted by yoink at 11:53 AM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Civil disobedience is meant to be dangerous. The whole point of civil disobedience is that you disobey a law in order to either protest that law directly or in order to draw attention to a protest of a wider scope.

Do you honestly believe that all laws limit danger?
posted by atbash at 12:10 PM on December 1, 2011


Atcash, I have no idea how you think your question relates to what I wrote.
posted by yoink at 2:12 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


that the campsite existed as a permanent provocation was its entire raison d'etre.

I suggest that you spend a week or two with OWS, then let's see you come back to write something so incredibly blinkered again.
posted by Twang at 4:45 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yoink: Atcash, I have no idea how you think your question relates to what I wrote.

You stated: Civil disobedience is meant to be dangerous.
Immediately after that you stated, to support that absurd claim: The whole point of civil disobedience is that you disobey a law [...].

The only way these two things follow is if you believe that violating a law is inherently dangerous. From this I surmise that you believe that all laws limit danger. I find this to be completely implausible, and so I am asking if this is actually something you believe, or if you are merely writing on non-sequitur after another and calling it logic (intentionally or coincidentally, it doesn't matter to me which.)

I see that you deflect the question by questioning why I'm asking it. I'll take that as an answer.
posted by atbash at 5:58 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Few comments removed. Do not make this thread about one person, take personal infighting to MeMail and let MetaFilter discuss these topics without making them all about one person's view on them. Full stop. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:23 PM on December 1, 2011


Bill of rights. RIGHTS. They can't be taken away by ANYONE. That's why we call them "rights".

Thing is, we have this list of them. Oh, you know they don't even claim the list is complete, it's just a set of them that are good and proper. But here's the thing: They are also canaries! You like canaries, don't you?

These rights and the fact they are explicitly listed are so you can tell when things are seriously wrong. When officials from the government ignore those rights, and violate them without any apparent reservations, then you know they are criminals.

Yes, that's what I said. The politicians and law enforcement people involved in trashing the belongings of these people are criminals. It's quite explicit, they can't take your stuff without due process, AND reasonable compensation. It doesn't say SHIT about "except when you protest", or "except when you live it in a public place".

So, just let it sink in, real deep. The people you pay taxes to protect you are robbing you and violating your rights. They are, in fact, professional criminals. This may and should cause very deep trouble to many of these people. Some are likely inspired to switch sides. That is exactly as it should be.

But it's worse, because it is clear also that there is a vast, organized effort to deprive the protesters of their RIGHT to assemble. Organizing to commit a crime is worse than the crime itself. Organizing to commit even a simple misdemeanour is a felony. I wonder, is it treason when the conspiracy is against the constitution? Seems maybe it should be.

How the fucking hell is anyone supposed to vote for Obama, when his government is participating in depriving us of our rights? Democratic? Um, hello, party? I know it's more a Russian thing, but there is this thing called "purge". Maybe you should seriously consider that.

See, maybe I'm old fashioned, but I was taught that it was extremely important to stand on the Constitution, and have zero tolerance for the government violating it. So I'd really like to see justice brought down upon the heads of officials involved in the planning of this shit. Seriously. Lock them up. They have no place in an America based on the founding principles.

The protesters do us all a huge service, throwing their bodies and their property on the line, so we can all see how bad the disrespect towards our governing system and rules, and citizens, the government has become. Nation of laws? LOL! Utter complete horseshit, until these crimes are answered for.
posted by Goofyy at 5:14 AM on December 2, 2011


How the fucking hell is anyone supposed to vote for Obama, when his government is participating in depriving us of our rights?

Wait, what? Does Obama run LA nowadays? Or are you implying he should he be sending in the National Guard to stop cities from this stuff?

I mean, Obama's got a lot of issues; but I'm not sure this specific thing is his fault.
posted by inigo2 at 6:48 AM on December 2, 2011


Did you ignore the part where Homeland Security is coordinating between cities?
posted by Goofyy at 9:15 AM on December 2, 2011


Goofyy, DHS involvement was never corroborated, has been denied, and the involvement of PERF as a common consultant probably explains the timing and methodology parallels.

The Obama administration has done some things I find very disturbing but this doesn't appear to be one of them.
posted by localroger at 9:35 AM on December 2, 2011


#OccupyLA - Day 60: The Eviction

"Over 200 protesters were arrested. Most for unlawful assembly and most held on $5,000 bail."

Info on how/why the court ignored the temporary restraining order application too.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:22 PM on December 2, 2011


Various articles about the excessive bail for Occupy Los Angeles protestors :

Nearly 300 protesters still in jail face $5,000 bail

Lawyers say $5,000 bail is excessive for Occupy L.A. arrestees

More than 180 Occupy LA arrestees released
posted by jeffburdges at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2011


Excess bail is unconstitutional, a fact we've tolerated the courts ignoring, to our peril. Our politicians presume to be our masters, they are not working for us, but against us. That's just a fact.
posted by Goofyy at 11:58 PM on December 2, 2011


Scores of Occupy L.A. protesters are released from jail
One speaker suggested that some of those arrested might need therapy. Several said they felt traumatized after witnessing police use nonlethal force and being forced to wait for hours in zip tie handcuffs. Some showed off cuts on their wrists from the handcuffs. Others complained that they were forced to urinate in bags on the bus as they were transported to jails.

One speaker urged others to document any complaints. "Make note of every single violation of human rights," she told those assembled.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:09 PM on December 3, 2011


There was nothing peaceful or professional about the LAPD’s attack on Occupy LA–not unless you think that people peacefully protesting against the power of the financial oligarchy deserve to be treated the way I saw Russian cops treating the protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were demonstrating against the oligarchy under Putin and Yeltsin...

Back then, everyone in the West protested and criticized the way the Russian cops brutally snuffed out dissent, myself included. Now I’m in America, at a demonstration, watching exactly the same brutal crackdown…
Yasha Levine reports on the crackdown and subsequent prison conditions for L. A. Occupy protestors.
posted by clarknova at 8:01 PM on December 4, 2011


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